Friday, April 30, 2010

It's Official- The FDA Believes we Are Too Dumb to Eat

©Doreen Hannes

The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF- has achieved a tremendous coup in their suit against the FDA regarding the FDA's abuses over transport of privately owned fresh (unpasteurized) milk. In a brief the FDA filed requesting that the case against them be dismissed for lack of standing, the FDA has shown that they truly think we cannot decide what we want to eat or drink without their permission. It's amazing. One would think that we could not have possibly lived prior to the formation of the FDA just over one hundred years ago.

The legal brief by the FDA actually has the audacity to proclaim in the table of contents such things as :

There is No Right to Consume or Feed Children Any Particular Food (pg25)

There is No Generalized Right to Bodily and Physical Health. (pg26)

There is No Fundamental Right to Freedom of Contract (pg 27)

FDA’s Regulations Rationally Advance The Agency’s Public Health Mission (pg27)

Let's have a look at the first citation above… (emphasis added) beginning on page 25…

…… there is no “deeply rooted” historical tradition of unfettered access to
food of all kinds….To the contrary, society’s long history of food regulation stretches back to the dietary laws of biblical times…. Modern food safety regulation in the United States has its roots in the early food laws of the American colonies, which themselves incorporated “the tradition of food regulation established in England.” …(-citing a Virginia statute passed in 1873, that “made it an offense . . . [to] knowingly, sell, supply, or bring to be manufactured . . . milk from which any cream has been taken; or milk commonly known as skimmed milk”). Comprehensive federal regulation of the food supply has been in effect at least since Congress enacted the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906, and was strengthened by the passage of the FDCA in 1938. Thus, plaintiffs’ claim to a fundamental privacy interest in obtaining “foods of their own choice” for themselves and their families is without merit.

If this weren't so horribly serious it would be hilarious.

The FDA is fighting a case that builds on the desire and right to consume fresh (unpasteurized) milk, which the FDA maintains is a lethally dangerous practice, by citing a law that prohibits any change of the nature of fresh milk!

But wait, there's more….we haven't begun to scratch the surface yet:

There is No Generalized Right to Bodily and Physical Health.

Plaintiffs’ assertion of a “fundamental right to their own bodily and physical
health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for
themselves and their families” is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish
. (Emphasis added)

I almost can not believe they were so overt in their complete and total disregard for the most fundamental human right of all, yet their own words convict them. If you cannot decide what food you wish to eat, you certainly cannot even entertain the idea that you are free! The FDA has seemingly vaunted itself to the level of parenthood over the entire nation simply by being created via an act of Congress. Like a parent telling a four year old, "Eat it! It's good for you!" Right…..Never mind the fact that the FDA has refused to do any real testing on genetically modified foods, or that they say aspartame is fine for you to drink when it becomes toxic at 85 degrees. Don't even mention that they have refused to regulate nanofoods (smaller than a molecule technologic creations) that your body cannot assimilate. Yet since you don't have any "generalized right to bodily and physical health" they can allow you to be poisoned with the continued blessing of Congress. And the likely passage of new powers to be given to the FDA will surely be helpful in giving us all "food safety" and healthful food. Right. Sorry, my sarcasm should be palpable.

According to the FDA, you don't have a right to bodily and physical health by deciding what you want to eat or don't want to eat. They know better than you, even better than God Almighty and don't you forget it. Just wait until they have expanded powers under S510 and HR2749. They will almost certainly extrapolate that authority to do home refrigerator checks on whomever they want.

In their final sentence under this section of the FDA's motion to dismiss, they really hit it out of the park:

Finally, even if such a right did exist, it would not render FDA’s regulations unconstitutional because prohibiting the interstate sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk promotes “bodily and physical health.”

So you don't have a right to it and they are promoting your non-right by their illustrious actions……Please. There are a myriad of studies attesting to the healthful benefits of fresh milk. Yes, there are concerns associated with it as well, and people should do the best they can to become educated on the subject before making a decision for themselves, but this hyperbolic 'public good' claim is farcical at the least. Particularly when the FDA has so miserably failed in their charge to inspect processing facilities and imports. A recent Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report revealed that the FDA has inspected less than 25% of the facilities they are charged with inspecting in five years. They inspect LESS than 1% of imports and allow the aforementioned biotech and nanotech foods to enter the food supply without the slightest flinch on their part. All the while they proclaim they are performing a public good.

The final affront to all that is decent in this FDA legal brief follows:

There is No Fundamental Right to Freedom of Contract
In arguing that FDA’s regulations violate substantive due process because they
interfere with plaintiffs’ “contract rights” by “restricting the use of an agent to accomplish what the principal herself ought to be free to do,” plaintiffs ask this Court to resuscitate long-dead, Lochner-era jurisprudence. See Ferguson v. Skrupa,372 U.S. 726, 729 (1963) (“There was a time when the Due Process Clause was used by this Court to strike down laws which were thought . . . incompatible with some particular economic or social philosophy,” but that doctrine “has long since been discarded ). Plaintiffs anachronistic invitation should be rejected.

The excerpt above has deeper implications than one might realize at a glance. In my estimation it has a terrific amount to do with many of the obtuse rulings the state and federal courts have delivered. We are being told that we do not have the right to make agreements. Evidently, all agreements have been made for us by our superiors.

Historically, the only people without the right to contract are minors, felons and slaves. Obviously, we cannot be minors because we can never reach the age of majority wherein we are free to decide what we eat for ourselves. So we are either felons or slaves. Which category we have been relegated to is open for discussion, but we certainly are not free. To boldly state that we have no right to freedom of contract is an astonishing, and revealing, admission.

To boldly state any one of the cites above is astonishing. We have no right to decide what we eat or don't eat, we have no right to bodily and physical health, we have no right to contract, and the FDA is 'rational'. So saith the FDA…. in Case 5:10-cv-04018-MWB, Document 11-1 filed on 04/26/10.

The FDA believes that we are too stupid to swallow. Yet we are supposed to swallow that they are interested in securing a safe food supply for us, and that the FDA needs more power to regulate food on farms and we should give it to them by passing S510 or HR2749.

They'll take care of us…you betcha.


This article should be on and have the pdf of the FDA motion to dismiss attached. I will make certain it is accessible and post an update when it can be downloaded easily. Meanwhile, if anyone has any idea how to get pdfs loaded onto blogspot---PLEASE let me know!

Monday, April 26, 2010

GMO-It's what's for Dinner!

For those who are really enjoying better living through chemistry (ahem) this may seem like good news. For the rest of us, who want to eat tomatoes when we think we're eating tomatoes, this isn't good news at all....This is nice quick article on the most recent happenings from the feds on GMO's.

Feds on GMO Labeling: Don't Tell, Don't Ask
By Barry Estabrook

If you were hoping there might be some change in the U.S. government's official position on genetically modified and genetically engineered (GM/GE) foods under the Obama administration, tough luck.

Last month there was the appointment of big-time GM/GE advocate (and former Monsanto lobbyist) Islam Siddiqui to Office of the United States Trade Representative as the country's chief agricultural negotiator . Now comes a position paper from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that opposes labeling for genetically modified food. The U.S. claims that letting consumers know whether or not food contains GM/GE products is "false, misleading, or deceptive."

You read that correctly. In Obama Newspeak, telling the public the truth is false, misleading, or deceptive, while concealing facts is not. Incidentally, the language is identical to that used by previous administrations. How's that for change?

The policy prompted yowls of outrage form more than 80 organic, environmental, food-production, and public-health groups. They dispatched a letter earlier this week urging Michael Taylor, who is deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA, and Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of agriculture, to reconsider (click here for a PDF). "We are concerned that the current U.S. position could potentially create serious problems for food processors in the U.S. who wish to indicate that their products contain no GE ingredients, including on organic food," the letter said.

The administration intends to argue its position at a meeting of the Codex Committee on Food Labeling, a United Nations body that sets labeling rules for food in international trade. Codex will be meeting from May 3 to May 7 in Quebec City. The government feels Codex should not "suggest or imply that GM/GE foods are in any way different from other foods."

"The agenda of the biotech industry is that if consumers don't know about it, they will eat it," said Patty Lovera, assistant director of Washington, D. C.-based Food and Water Watch. "Our government shouldn't be carrying the water for the biotech industry, a group that tries not to let the public know what it is doing."

The new policy directly contradicts the USDA's current organic regulations, the groups point out in the letter. USDA organic rules prohibit modified seeds, and organic producers often label their products as being GM-free. "Such foods are clearly different," the letter states. "We are, in fact, concerned that that the current U.S. position appears to seek to establish a precedent at Codex that would make it difficult to label food as non-GM within the U.S."

Agribusiness would love nothing better.

This article available online at:

Copyright © 2010 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

NanoTech is not science fiction....

I came across this article at the above blog, and wanted to say "Thanks!" to Rady for linking to my show and this blog…..This is a very interesting article on nanotech, and if you follow this link, there are many more things about nanotech available:>

I found it really intriguing that the researcher said "There's nothing special about blackholes" regarding the development through the merger of astrophysics and nanotech a nanotube of carbon. Truly, this is beyond my ken….But sometimes I think funny thoughts anyway!

I really don't want anything less than 100th the size of a virus in my food---OR my air. How about you?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Let's All Be the Same!

If anyone doubted what I have been yammering about for years now on the international controlling our food supply and production, here is proof of that desire from someone with credentials....

Mike Robach, vice president of Corporate Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs for Cargill Inc., encouraged food processors to \push for an effective, modern, global food-safety system that would harmonize efforts from farm to fork and not simply make minor fixes to the current state of affairs.

Robach, speaking in today’s keynote session to attendees of the 2010 Food Safety Summit in Washington, D.C., explained that it is time to modernize food safety, both the systems and the standards, and called for involvement of all the stakeholders in the reform process — industry, consumers, government and academia.

“Without a clear vision forward, it’s impossible to build an effective, modern, global food-safety system,” he said.

Robach believes the federal government and Congress are committed to fixing the food-safety system, but he is concerned that all the current legislation does is patch an antiquated system that is further constrained by the structure of the USDA/FDA framework in place. He says that if we are to reform food safety, then we should analyze all aspects of food safety, to make sure that standards and regulations that have been in place for decades are still valid and meet the needs of the system.

Essential to the process is an improved partnership between the public and private sectors. Robach says that each of us plays a role in driving these partnerships forward.

“Neither sector can drive harmonization of the food-safety system alone,” he said. “Nor can the government, even though sometimes it appears to think it can.”

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has begun to build a bridge toward this path forward to harmonization, and Robach believes partnerships such as these will be necessary for reform to be far-reaching and successful.

Some of the key concepts Robach believes must be part of the reform include:

* the need for international recognition of the new standards, which must be based on science and risk
* results must allow flexibility for companies to achieve health objectives, rather than being prescriptive (Robach wants new standards to be objective-based, which would promote innovation by the industry, rather than a “how to” type of standard)
* use CODEX, OIE and IPPC as a basis for standardization
* international accreditation for audit schemes is necessary
* surveillance and rapid response must be improved via better relationships and collaboration by the industry with public-health agencies
* oversight must be focused on farm to fork, not simply the processing level
* reform must involve ALL stakeholders

Robach believes that without harmonization, any reform will not go the distance and stand the test of time.

“If people have different measurements of food safety, it’s too confusing for consumers,” he added. “But we cannot let food safety interfere with global trade.”

A global food-safety system would ensure a supply of safe food around the world at all times

Monday, April 12, 2010

JBS- Canning More Americans

Some of you may be familiar with the Brazilian company JBS S.A. and the fact that it IS the biggest meat packer in the world and recently was allowed to purchase Pilgrim's Pride here in the US. They went into business with the Brazilian government (again) and sold their debentures on the stock exchange to pay for Pilgrim's Pride. A few months ago, when the purchase was completed, they laid off a bunch of workers from the company. Now they are closing the company headquarters in Pittsburg, Texas and dismissing more Americans. They will be centralizing their administrative efforts on this continent in their offices in Greeley, Colorado.

This may not seem substantial, but it truly is.

The fact of the matter is that JBS now is taking over Australia, the US, and I heard Russia in the meat sector. As a multi national corporation, they are interested in the bottom line, and that's really all. They don't have nationalities and loyalties as a corporation. The fact that Tyson recently stated their plans to open a facility in Argentina as opposed to the US because they can hire people for total overal costs of $3 per hour there as opposed to $15 per hour here should spark one's thinking. If we end up off-shoring all of agriculture, we will eventually be in the position of easily being starved out here.

Already 65% of produce is imported along with 80% of seafood. The official numbers indicate approximately 70% of our food is imported.

Remember kids, No Farmers, No Food.

We are losing our ability to produce anything except hot air here due to free trade, agency regulatory actions, lack of access to markets, too many constraints on direct trade, and failure to enforce the laws regarding anti-trust and monopolies on the part of the agencies charged with those enforcements.

This action by JBS (canning employees) was not unanticipated, but it is yet another blow to our ability to provide for ourselves. Wait until they move 70% of the production out of the country. Then we'll have some real fun. has a members only policy for articles. This is where the article copied below came from. It is copied exactly as it was written en toto...

Industry News - PM
Pilgrim’s Pride to close HQ, Atlanta offices; plans layoffs

By Lisa M. Keefe on 4/12/2010

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. announced Monday that it will close its corporate headquarters building in East Texas and a satellite corporate office in Atlanta, resulting in total layoffs of 213 employees. Both offices are expected to close within about 60 days.

Many Pilgrim's Pride employees at the two corporate offices have been offered positions elsewhere in the company. Still, the company expects to eliminate 158 jobs at its headquarters in Pittsburg, Texas, and 55 jobs in Atlanta. Layoffs are expected to begin in mid-June.

The closings are billed as part of the company's ongoing integration with JBS USA, which assumed a majority stake in the poultry processor at the end of 2009. Those offices' functions are being moved to JBS USA's headquarters in Greeley, Colo.

The announcement comes three months after Pilgrim's Pride laid off 230 people from offices in Texas, Atlanta and Virginia. (See Pilgrim's Pride cuts 230 jobs as JBS takes over, on Meatingplace, Jan. 5, 2010.)

None of the jobs to be eliminated in June are production-related, and the processing facilities and operations will not be affected.


Friday, April 9, 2010

As per usual....WSJ on S510

The Wall Street Journal contacted several people a few weeks ago regarding S510.....The Food Safety Modernization Act. It is poised to move either next week or the following week. Start making calls to your Senators and letting them know they should oppose this bill. here is a link to the WSJ article where Debbie Stockton of NICFA is quoted (

Please download the talking points from NICFA and then call your Senators to try to give them some light. There are many who want to amend the bill to 'exempt' small direct trade producers. One problem is that it still gives subject matter jurisdiction to the agency, and then with the Food Code done for every state health department, states are encouraged to implement ALL federal initiatives within their borders. Another problem is that the USDA and FDA are failing where they already have authority and funding, so giving them more authority to use fines and penalities on smaller entities will only further consolidate the food industry and therefore make it more unsafe for consumers. Here are the talking points from NICFA....

S 510, The Food Safety Modernization Act – Why It Will Make Food Less Safe

Considerations submitted by the National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (NICFA)
Contact: Deborah Stockton 434.295.7176

S-510 will have the unintended destructive consequence of eliminating small farms and consumer access to local
food. The main threats to food safety – by the government’s own admission – are centralized production,
centralized processing and long distance transportation. The food safety bills will increase these risk factors by
further consolidating agriculture into fewer, larger industrial farms through enormous regulatory burdens that small
farms cannot endure. Small farms and farmers markets are an important economic engine, environmental safeguard
and national security asset. There is not a history of food borne illness from farmers’ markets or small farms.

1) S510 grants sweeping powers to the FDA (and the USDA). (see Reference (1) on attached page)
a) The FDA already has jurisdiction over live food animals, but S510 expands the FDA’s powers and authority. In
addition to the agency adding new regulations, agents could go on to farms, where less than one half of one percent
of foodborne illnesses originate, without having credible evidence that a problem exists, needing only “reason to
believe” in order to quarantine or shut down a farm. (Please see example on reverse side of paper)
b) TITLE II Sec. 208: striking ‘‘presents a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or
animals’’ and inserting ‘‘is adulterated or misbranded’’ means that if an agent “believed” that raw milk, for instance,
to be an adulterated food, he or she could shut down a farm that provides raw milk to consumers.

These agencies already have expansive authority to monitor and inspect areas where problems actually occur –
processing and handing – yet they are not fully inspecting. Why expand their powers to farms and cause financial harm
to those who produce the food? Increased inspections and regulations would only serve to impose additional costs and
burdens on family farming, destabilize local economies, promote "factory" food to the consumer and limit the consumers
right to purchase local products..

2) S510 is an enabling statute for international regulations. (see Reference (2) on attached page)
Reducing national authority and applying international standards to farms and small businesses will hurt the only
growing sector of agriculture this nation has, the direct trade and local food movements. All of the "Food Safety"
bills allow for this. International guidelines and standards are not designed to increase food safety, but to harmonize
and standardize all food production and processes.
a) The U.S. has already implemented several disastrous international standards, including “Hazard Analysis &
Critical Control Points” (HACCP) and "The Leafy Green Marketing Order."
i) HACCP has not increased food safety, but has resulted in the closure of slaughterhouses unable to afford it
that serviced small farmers in direct trade, increasing farmers’ costs for travel to distant abattoirs and
decreasing their ability to stay in business. S510 will allow HACCP – a 50-page book of rules – to be
required on farms.
ii) The International Plant Protection Convention’s (IPPC's) "Pest Free" standard, known as "The Leafy Green
Marketing Order" was written by industrial distributors and has resulted in no increase in food safety but has
caused gross financial burdens on small farms. E.g., in the Growers’ Compliance Costs for the Leafy Greens
Marketing Agreement (LGMA) and Other Food Safety Programs survey conducted in 2008 and 2009 by the
University of California, one of their many findings stated, “Growers reported their seasonal food safety
costs more than doubled after the implementation of the LGMA, increasing from a mean of $24.04 per acre
in 2006 to $54.63 per acre in 2007.”

3) Lobbyists for industrial agriculture do not represent small farmers and the consumers who buy from them. Congress
needs to consider the consequences to consumers and small farmers of giving agencies more power to enforce (fine and
imprison) those who are simply not as financially capable of exerting influence on the writing of the regulations that
Congress is considering authorizing by these statutes.

• S-510 will not increase food safety.
• S-510 will put undue burden on the small farmer getting his products to the consumer.
• S-510 will reduce or eliminate consumer access to locally grown food.
We ask you to consider not acting on these bills until they can be properly worded.

(please see reverse side for further information)

FDA Abuse of Power, Real Life Consequences

One current example of the FDA’s abuse of power was in July 2008, when the FDA issued
a nationwide warning regarding a Salmonella risk on varieties of tomatoes. “The disease
wasn’t found on Georgia tomatoes, but the general public’s perception was that all tomatoes
were affected,” said Archie Flanders, an economist with the University of Georgia College
of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The scare cost Georgia farmers $13.9 million.
Georgia grows about 3,000 acres of tomatoes, worth between $60 million and $80 million
annually. According to an article from the University of Georgia, "During the tomato scare
of 2008, the U.S. tomato industry lost an estimated $300 million in revenue. Florida growers
bore the brunt of the recall, incurring up to $100 million in losses." It later was determined
that the outbreak of Salmonella did not come from tomatoes.


Call 877 210 5531 and get your Senator's office and leave them a message about why we don't need any more governmental controls in light of a complete failure to do what they are charged to do already......

I find it rather amusing that the WSJ knows when the Senate intends to take things up and holds articles until the timing is right. Kind of like the reason people with inordinate amounts of money keep vying for small potatoes Congressional positions.....the biggest insider trading racket around.

ARAPA---Global Food Safety Initiative and S510

Arkansas Animal Producers Association


Date: April 18, 2010

Time: 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Site: Atkins High School Auditorium

403 Ave. 3 Northwest

Atkins, Arkansas

Keynote Speaker: Mrs. Doreen Hannes

ARAPA member Doreen Hannes has thoroughly researched the origins &
impacts of "Free Trade" agreements and the National Animal
Identification System in particular & has been a major force in the
anti-NAIS movement both nationally & in Missouri. Her mission is to
expose the procedures & methods being employed to destroy the God given
rights of this once great republic. Doreen has her own talk radio
program & has written extensively on the NAIS. She will be doing a power
point presentation on the GLOBAL FOOD SAFETY INITIATIVE and why these
food safety bills in Congress right now will not only implement NAIS,
but more than that - this will be complete food control right down to
your garden & kitchen. Bring every person you can to HEAR THIS. This
isn't just about our animals anymore.

http://truth- farmer.blogspot. com/

Other Scheduled Speakers:

Mrs. Jeannie Burlsworth: Chairwoman of Secure Arkansas

Mr. Warren Phillips of Arkansas Animal Producers Association

Mr. Michael Steenbergen of the Arkansas Horse Council

Mr. Harvey Howington of the Arkansas Rice Growers Association

We will have an ARAPA business meeting to decide new board members. We
will also discuss what our next step is for the 2011 legislative

Did you hear that "NAIS is dead"? NO, it is NOT! Come find out what
really happened!

Do you want to find out what happened with your Freedom to Farm Act last
spring in the Arkansas Senate Ag committee hearing? COME TO THIS

Are you wondering why a guy from the Ark. Rice Growers (3,000 members!)
is speaking at our meeting? COME FIND OUT—this is BIG news for ARAPA
and for Arkansas!

Do you have lots of questions & want answers? COME TO THIS MEETING!



Please bring friends and family!!!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

HSUS- Horribly Sadistic Urban Sociopaths

A must read article about how loving and kind the HSUS (Horribly Sadistic Urban Sociopaths) is to horses once they have 'rescued' them from an owner that actually cares for them.

And another shorter overview exposing some of the methods of HSUS:

Unfortunately, the HSUS (international) is part of the Global Animal Partnership working with the FAO and OIE to develop animal welfare standards, so to keep free trading, we will have to trade freedom yet again…..

Monday, April 5, 2010

Highly Disturbing Video

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) held their "One World One Health" fanfare on March 15th through the 17th of this year. The keynote speaker was Dr. Corrie Brown, a PhD veterinarian professor and she gave a presentation that curled my hair. I have never seen anything quite like this. Inappropriate laughter when talking about the fact that we are being run via soft law and global govi-corp, and saying that it's all great and wonderful while the globe is turned into a full fledged global plantation via the corporate use of the WTO and the aforementioned soft law practices....Words are difficult to wrap around the impressions engendered by watching the tape. The dominant impression related back by those who have watched the clip is that these people are insane.

The video is 23 minutes long. You can watch it here:

For those who don't know, "One World One Health" is the [lan by the Wildlife Conservation Society to fuse together all living creatures on the basis that we are all affected by the environment. It is the plan for NAIS for everything, and the framework for health and disease control in "human animal and ecosystem interface".

My biggest impression is that this is more "Global Basket Case" than Global Food Basket. See what you think.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The 21,000£ Goldfish...Ignorance Gone to Seed

Pet shop owner fined £1,000 and told to wear an electronic tag... for selling a GOLDFISH to a boy aged 14

By Jaya Narain
Last updated at 12:44 PM on 31st March 2010

Her offence was to unwittingly sell a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy taking part in a trading standards 'sting'.

At most, pet shop owner Joan Higgins, 66, expected a slap on the wrist for breaking new animal welfare laws which ban the sale of pets to under-16s.

Instead, the great-grandmother was taken to court, fined £1,000, placed under curfew - and ordered to wear an electronic tag for two months.
Seven-week curfew: Joan Higgins has to wear an electronic tag

Seven-week curfew: Joan Higgins has to wear an electronic tag

The punishment is normally handed out to violent thugs and repeat offenders.

The prosecution of Mrs Higgins and her son Mark is estimated to have cost taxpayers £20,000 and has left her with a criminal record.

Mark, 47, was also fined and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Last night, as an MP criticised the magistrates, Mrs Higgins - who has run the pet shop for 28 years - said the family's eight-month ordeal had left them traumatised.

She added: 'It's ridiculous. I mean, what danger am I that I have to wear an electronic tag? These last few months have been a very stressful time.'

The seven-week curfew imposed by the court means she is unable to babysit her great-grandson at his home or go to bingo sessions with her sister, and will be unable to attend a Rod Stewart concert after tickets were bought for her by her nephew, actor Will Mellor.
Joan and Mark Higgins

Joan Higgins, 66, and her son Mark, 47, have both been ordered to pay fines after selling a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy

Her son said: 'I think it's a farce. What gets me so cross is that they put my Mum on a tag - she's nearly 70, for goodness' sake.

'She's a great-grandma so she won't be able to babysit a newborn baby. You would think they have better things to do with their time and money.'

Mr Higgins claimed the undercover operation was a clear case of entrapment - when a person is encouraged by someone in some official capacity to commit a crime - and said the case should never have gone to court.

He said: 'The council sent the 14-year-old in to us. It is hard to tell how old a lad is these days. He looked much older than 14.'

He added that his mother almost fainted in the dock when magistrates told her she could go to prison for the offence.

'I told her they wouldn't send her to prison but she was still worried,' he said. 'The only other time she has been in court is when she did jury service.'
Majors Pet shop in Sale, Greater Manchester, where the incident occurred

Majors Pet shop in Sale, Greater Manchester, owned by Joan and Mark Higgins

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is illegal to sell pets - including goldfish - to children under the age of 16 unless they are accompanied by an adult. Pet shops must also provide advice on animal welfare to buyers.

The maximum penalty is imprisonment for up to 12 months, or a fine of up to £20,000, or both.

The Higgins family's ordeal began when council officials heard that Majors Pet Shop in Sale, Greater Manchester, was selling animals to children.

They sent the 14-year-old schoolboy into the shop to carry out a test purchase and Mr Higgins sold him the goldfish without questioning his age or providing any information about the care of the fish.

A council officer in the shop at the time also noticed a cockatiel in a cage that appeared to be in a poor state of health. A vet found the bird had a broken leg and eye problems. It was later put down.
Enlarge p4graphic

Mrs Higgins and her son were charged with selling the fish to a person aged under 16 and with causing unnecessary suffering to a cockatiel by failing to provide appropriate care and treatment.

Pleading guilty, Mrs Higgins told Trafford magistrates the cockatiel had not been for sale and she had been bathing its eye daily.


* Need to move a dumped mattress? It's dangerous, we'll need a JCB, says 'jobsworth' council
* The end of the pedalling postie: Health and safety fears lead to phasing out of bikes

She had intended to take it to the vet but had been distracted and worried because her other son was in hospital.

The court heard that Mrs Higgins had possessed a licence to sell animals for many years and had never had any problems before.

She was fined £1,000 and given a community order with a curfew requiring her to stay home between 6pm and 7am for seven weeks.

Mrs Higgins did not have her licence to sell animals removed, but both she and her son were told that if they ever appeared in court for a similar offence they could face a jail sentence.

David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, said: 'You simply couldn't make it up. It is absolutely ludicrous that old ladies should be hounded through the courts and electronically tagged for something like this.
Pugh Hes In For Aiding and Abetting.jpg

'At a time when courts are being told not to lock up career burglars we have them issuing severe punishments like this on little old ladies.' Mr Davies, who has served as a special constable for three years, said: 'Not only is it traumatic for her but it is a complete waste of time and taxpayers' money. It is ridiculous.

'Instead of getting 14-year-old boys to act in this type of sting they should have them trying to nail people who sell drugs outside our schools.'

Trafford Council said it launched an investigation after an unsubstantiated complaint that the shop had sold a gerbil to a 14-year-old girl with learning disabilities. The council claimed the animal later died after the child placed it in a disposable coffee cup with a plastic lid on top.

But the complaint did not form part of the legal action in court and its truth cannot be verified.

Mrs Higgins said the shop had not stocked gerbils for months before the complaint anyway.

Defending the goldfish case, Iain Veitch, head of public protection at Trafford Council, said: 'The evidence presented for this conviction clearly demonstrates that it is irresponsible to sell animals to those who are not old enough to look after them.

'Let this conviction send out a message that we will not tolerate those who cause unnecessary suffering to animals. The council will always try to support pet and business owners so that they are able to care for their animals properly, but where they continually ignore the advice they are given, we will not hesitate to use our statutory powers.'

The goldfish was later adopted by an animal welfare officer and is in good health.